Manners Matter 12

Rude Pets and Rude Pet Owners

By Ron Ross


My wife used to share her ice cream cone with our dachshund. The neighbor girl wasn’t impressed, however, when he took a lick of her cone.

What is socially acceptable to a dog or to a dog owner is not necessarily acceptable to humans. Sniffing, jumping, licking, and biting are just a few examples. We might giggle when a dog sniffs someone in an inappropriate place or licks its master in the mouth, but it’s not so funny when an unruly mutt does it to us.

Here are a few guidelines for safe and friendly dog interaction.

The first guideline for pet lovers to grasp is this: Some people do not want any contact with a dog. My mother was that way. Once our last dog died she never allowed another dog in her house for the next 40 years of her life. When you walk your dog keep Fido away from strangers, under control and quiet. If a stranger wants to pet your dog they will demonstrate their interest and act accordingly.

If a stranger wants to pet your dog, it is polite to warn them about your dog’s likely behavior. Our dachshund looked cute and harmless but he was particular about who he let pet him. When someone wanted to pet him we always picked him up and held him, the dog, that is. If your dog is likely to jump on someone and lick them in the face, that person should be told before they kneel down and say, “What a cute little puppy!”

Do not bring your dog inside someone’s home without their permission. I had an acquaintance from High School whom I barely knew ask if he could stay a night in our guest room while on route to another state. We were happy to accommodate him but surprised when he showed up with his dog. We didn’t mind having his cute little dog in our home over night but it would have been polite for him to tell us previous to his arrival.

If you are going to the lake for a ride in your neighbor’s boat, check with the boat owner before you pile your three mutts in the back of your SUV. He may not want dogs or dog hairs in either his bow or stern.

It is unsightly, unsanitary and rude to allow your dog to poop on someone else’s grass no matter how far from home you are. Always carry your disposable doggie bag with you and pick up the waste immediately – ALWAYS.

Barking dogs are my biggest pet peeve. If your dog barks it is up to you to stop it. A barking dog is a nuisance and so are you if you do not quiet your dog. The calm and quiet of many neighborhoods are violated by the constant yapping of a rude out-of-control barking dog.

Remember, it is not your dog that is rude. Dogs are like little kids: they must be taught to behave appropriately. With pet ownership comes the responsibility to keep the pet on a leash, under control and relaxed at all times. When it comes to dogs, the manners of their masters matter.

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